'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.' - author Jackie French

Friday, 7 November 2014

KBR Short Story: What the Boab Tree Saw

by Cameron Fergus

On the edge of a hill…
in a place called Far…
where the rich red dust meets the deep blue sea…
stands an ancient boab…
cracked and gnarled…
deep-rooted in place for longer than anyone’s memory.

Once a tiny seed,
in a broken pod.
On the shadowed ground beneath its parent’s flowering limbs.

It travelled the plains
And was finally dropped,
From the belly of a hungry hopping beast.
On the edge of a hill.
In a place called Far.
Settled into a crack, where the rich red dust meets the deep blue sea.

Where it was fed.
And burst forth.
And grew. And grew. And grew. 
Days and years passed.
The boab tree grew strong.
Until its limbs finally cast their own shadows on the ground.

Beasts came.
People came.
As they had always done in the Far country.
They lived.
And left.
And returned. And left again.

Hot days came.
And long dry years.
As did months where nothing came but the flooding rains.

Changing days.
But the night is always the same-
Deep and dark.
Lit by a million stars.
Bush noises, and a gentle breeze.

On the darkest nights
There is little to see.
So in the Far country, the boab dreamed-
Of long sunny days.
Of spirits in the storm clouds.
And of friends who come.
And friends who’ve gone on.

And still it grew.
And grew.
And grew.

The boab tree has lived long.
And seen much-
…fisherman in wooden boats, seeking treasures in the sea.
…ships with tall masts, with people looking, looking.

It saw the original people go. Just as they had always done. But never with hearts as heavy as this.
It saw people so angry they went to war.
And a storm so wild it destroyed a city.

Now the boab sees people speed by in shiny boats.
And rush by, far overhead.

Changing days.

And if the rains still come to the Far country.
And the sun still warms its leaves.
Then the boab will remain.
On the edge of a hill.
Where the rich red dust meets the deep blue sea.
For longer than anyone’s memory.

People and beasts will come and go.

But the night will always be the same-
Deep and dark.
Lit by a million stars.
Bush noises, and a gentle breeze.

The night is always the same.

Cameron Fergus is a freelance writer from Melbourne. Cameron writes for a range of travel, surfing and lifestyle magazines, and has recently turned his hand to writing fiction for children and adults.

KBR Short Stories are a way to get your work ‘out there’—and to delight our KBR readers. Stories are set to a monthly theme and entries are due in the 25th of each month. Find out more here.


  1. What a sweet and beautifully written little story. My kids are going to just love this one. Think it would work perfectly as an illustrated book too. Good luck!

  2. Thanks so much SMP, I'm really glad that you enjoyed it, I hope that your kids did too. And I agree with you, I think there is so much scope for an illustrator with a distinct style to add a great deal to the story. I'd love to see that happen. Appreciate you taking the time to comment. Cheers, Cameron.

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you so much Sally. I appreciate you taking the time to have a read. And I loved your illustrations, especially Mica and Poppy, just beautiful. Keep up the great work. Cameron


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